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Tourist Centres Prominent places of pilgrimage/tourist interests are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Hemkund Sahib, Nanakmatta, etc. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can be performed through Kumaon region. The world-famous Valley of Flowers, Pindari Glacier, Roop Kund, Dayara Bugyal, Auli and hill stations like Mussoorie, Dehradun, Chakrata, Nainital, Ranikhet, Bageshwar, Bhimtal, Kausani, Lansdowne, etc. are the other tourist destinations. Relevant Website: www.uk.gov.in Government Governor : Baby Rani Maurya Chief Secretary : Utpal Kumar Singh Chief Minister : Trivendra Singh Jurisdiction of High : Uttarakhand Rawat Court Uttar Pradesh Area : 2,36,286 sq km Population : 19.98 crore (prov. census 2011) Capital : Lucknow Principal : Hindi and Urdu Languages History The history of Uttar Pradesh is very ancient and interesting. It is recognised in the later Vedic Age as Brahmarshi Desha or Madhya Desha. Many great sages of the Vedic times like Bhardwaja, Gautam, Yagyavalkaya, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra and Valmiki flourished in this state. Several sacred books of the Aryans were also composed here. In the sixth century BC Uttar Pradesh was associated with two new religions—Jainism and Buddhism. It was at Sarnath that Buddha preached his first sermon and laid the foundations of his order and it was in Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh where Buddha breathed his last. Several centres in Uttar Pradesh like Ayodhya, Prayag, Varanasi and Mathura became reputed centres of learning. In the medieval period Uttar Pradesh passed under Muslim rule and led the way to new synthesis of Hindu and Islamic cultures. Ramananda and his Muslim disciple Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas and many other intellectuals contributed to the growth of Hindi and other languages. Uttar Pradesh preserved its intellectual excellence even under the British administration. The British combined Agra and Oudh into one province and called it United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. The name was shortened to the United Provinces in 1935. In January 1950, the United Provinces was renamed as Uttar Pradesh. The state is bounded by Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the north, Haryana in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the south and Bihar in the east. Uttar Pradesh can be divided into two distinct regions (i) Southern Hills and (ii) Gangetic Plains.